What stands Urban Chaos out from the teeming crowd is a neat 'balancing' system. If you play a riot mission as T-Zero, say, but your team is horrendously outnumbered, the game will automatically adjust the time limit. The more Burners there are, the shorter time they have to complete the mission.
And it really works. We inadvertently started a hostage match with a massive imbalance - five Burners against two T-Zero troops. Spawn times on the Burners' side were lengthened by a few seconds, and there was more time to save fewer hostages.
Even with such overwhelming odds it was a tight match, and the T-Zero team managed to rescue two of the three captives. This left a dramatic final few seconds as they struggled to save the final hostage but were denied by both barrels from the business end of our shotgun. Naturally.
Above: Not all the uprisers are gung-ho meatheads. Some prefer to strike from afar
There's even more balance in the arsenal department. T-Zero members, like in the main game, wield a super-strong Perspex shield that can deflect even point-blank magnum rounds. Only it takes slightly longer to swap between the shield and your weapon, leaving you momentarily vulnerable. At the same time, each Burner packs an infinite stock of molotov-cocktails, which can kill a T-Zero with his shield raised if your throw is good.
It might not be out-of-this-world amazing, but Urban Chaos offers some really solid and enjoyable multiplayer. Even with only eight players the maps are cleverly designed to keep you in the thick of the action, and the intelligent balancing makes every match a tight, hotly contested experience. We're impressed, and we're sure that when the game comes out on 19 May you'll feel the same. Expect a full review very soon.